With an ever-increasing number of girls and women playing sports, a Wollongong City councillor thinks it is about time females got their own change rooms and toilets at fields.
Cr Jenelle Rimmer will ask the council to conduct an audit of sporting facilities in the Wollongong area.
The audit will determine which facilities for women are non-existent or inadequate so the council can work out an action plan to upgrade amenities blocks.
As chair of the council's Sports Reference Committee, Cr Rimmer said many of the sports grounds were built many decades ago when female participation rates were much lower and the vast majority of facilities did not meet today's needs and standards.
"I talk to presidents of sporting groups regularly and a number of them tell me they need female change rooms," she said.
"Parents of girls who are in mixed teams have also raised concerns with me because there is often only one change room. The girls are forced to get changed in the toilet while the boys use the change room.
"Council needs to put this on the agenda because it has not focused on female amenities. This must be a priority for us moving forward."
Cr Rimmer said it was essential that girls and women felt comfortable at sports grounds and they needed their own private area to get changed, have a shower and go to the toilet.
"We want to encourage young women to play sport and female participation rates have increased but the facilities are outdated and are not gender equitable," she said.
"The audit needs to identify which grounds have the greatest need and then there needs to be a plan of action and costings so council can start to address the issue."
Corrimal Cougars club president Dave Adams said the amenities block at Robert Ziems Park's rugby league football field was inadequate for the under 18s and senior women's teams.
"Our sheds were built 40 or 50 years ago for men, when girls didn't play. There was no foresight," he said.
"There are only two ladies toilets out the back that have to accommodate all of the female players and supporters. It is archaic."
Mr Adams said the senior women's players had "got used to" not having a separate women's facility and he wanted that to change.
"Women are just as much as part of our club as anyone else," he said. "They know the club can't do anything about it because the cost to change the facility is too high, and it is a council responsibility."
Mr Adams said he would like Wollongong City Council to be more supportive of clubs that wanted install facilities for their female players.
He is urging the council to provide more development application assistance and funding for upgrades.
"Our club got funding through Ryan Park and the state government," Mr Adams said. "The club wanted to build a shed for women but council made us jump through so many hoops that we ended up using the money for a gear shed."
Cr Rimmer said the upgrades to amenities blocks would be a "mammoth task" and it would not "be easy nor cheap but if we don't have a starting point we will never get anywhere".
"The federal government has indicated that it will have a fund available for female amenities and my worry is if we haven't already done the leg work then we won't be ready to apply for these funds," she said. "We need to be ahead of this and prepared to submit applications that will be of greatest benefit."